Medicare policy undergoes ‘quiet’ change; expands coverage for cancer drugs

The New York Times Tuesday reported a 'quiet' change in Medicare policy, for incorporating an 'expansive' coverage for cancer drugs, seemingly because of the high-cost treatment of cancer.

Though the Congress has strictly restricted Medicare's ability to adopt any measures for countering the costly treatments, the change in Medicare policy would allow compensation for a much wider range of "off-label" cancer treatments - implying the use of cancer drugs yet to be approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) - but, of course, at an increased Medicare spending!

While announcing the change in the policy, though without much elaboration, Medicare had said on June 5: "In some instances, the medical community may have scientific evidence that supports using a drug to treat a disease even if the drug's FDA-approved label does not include those clinical conditions."

Medicare's somewhat controversial decision, involving the 'gray' area of "off-label" prescriptions, has been strongly supported by cancer doctors. Dr. Joseph Bailes, a spokesman for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said that the change would reduce quite a few hassles, and result in "faster coverage of evidence-based and appropriate cancer medications for patients." 

However, some consumer advocates, calling the policy change ill-advised, seek a re-evaluation by Medicare, and caution that "Evidence shows that some of the drugs extend life by a very small amount and at great cost."


Popular Stories

Dr. Mark Wainberg dies after struggling in waters off Bal Harbour, Fla.

Famed microbiologist Dr. Mark Wainberg, who played... Read More

Microsoft patches NSA’s leaked Windows hacks

Microsoft Corp. has claimed that it has already... Read More

Las Vegas to offer clean needles through vending machines

Struggling to fight back soaring heroin and HIV... Read More

Nintendo announces new games for Switch

During the most recent Nintendo Direct, the mobile... Read More

Decomposed bat found inside package of salad: officials confirm

Fresh Express is recalling a limited number of... Read More

Future Google Pixel phones may feature curved screens

Tech giant Google Inc. has plans to introduce a... Read More